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DayCreek Journal

June 22 , 2003

All in All, It's Just Another Wall

Over the past few weeks, I've managed to finish two more walls. The going is a little easier compared to the outside walls since I have been placing the logs flush with the mortar. It still requires a bit of pointing with a bent butter knife, but not nearly as much as when the logs stick out 3/4" or so.

I'm still not sure if I like the flush look or not. There's something about the look of a cordwood wall when the logs stick out a bit that is quite pleasant to the eye—maybe its the relief of the wood or maybe the bevelling the edges that has made the exterior of the house look quite beautiful (in my opinion of course).

A typical week of "cordwooding" finds me slurrying a 55 gallon batch of paper about every other day, cutting 16" pieces of cordwood in half with a miter saw and making batches and batches of PEM (Paper Enhanced Mortar). It takes roughly 24 batches of mortar to finish an 8' x 8' wall and although I've mixed as many as 9 batches in one day, there always seems to be something that slows my progress down: cutting grass, getting supplies and neighbor visits to name a few. The end result is (usually) one wall per week, which is fine by me.

With that said, this coming week will feature a bit of diversion from cordwood wall building. I've got to level an area out with the Bobcat for the installation of a LP gas tank and I want to do some experimenting with PEP (Paper Enhanced Plaster). Maybe I'll get around to doing some cordwooding, but not until later in the week.


What a difference a year makes! Last year's torrential rainstorm (12 inches!) is now just a distant memory. This year's weather couldn't have been better—bright sunshine and just enough of a breeze to show off the MREA's wind turbine.

It was also my first attempt at being a presenter at the fair and I certainly enjoyed giving the presentation and hopefully the audience enjoyed it too. My presentation focussed on the energy efficiency of a double cordwood wall and I also discussed our heating system. I was quite proud to report that our first year's heating bill came to $125: $50 for a face cord of wood and $75 for electric backup heat. Once we're moved into the house, our heating bill should drop to next to nothing. My only expense will be my labor and fuel for the chainsaw and log splitter.

After my presentation on Friday, the rest of the weekend was play time for me. I always enjoy going to presentations or just going from booth to booth, checking out what's new in the world of renewable energy.

One of my favorite booths at the fair this year was the rather innovative wind machine called the Aerotecture Aeroturbine designed by Bill Becker. This is a wind turbine that is helical in shape and works in turbulent wind conditions. I've always wondered if it would be possible to generate some power from wind profile areas that are not recommended for wind turbines—maybe this is the answer.

Well it's getting late and I want to get an early start tomorrow on my trip up to Minnesota so I can avoid hour-long construction delays. B-Bye for now.



Here's a photo of one of the proud parents of two barred owl chicks that screech throughout the night.